This toy truck always makes me reminisce my family’s history and my roots.
My father’s father was a small cocoa farmer in the region of Mampong, near the town of Nsuta in Ghana. Everyone in the family was expected to pitch in and work in the crop. He grew some cashews but the main source of income was the cocoa. In the 1930’s all production had to be sold to the states’ controlled agency but moving the crop to the main towns was a long and perilous journey done by the traditional horse drawn carts. In the late 1940’s my dad, Kwame, convinced his father to travel to Accra to look at getting a small jeep so they could move the crops to market faster.
They found a used British made Leyland Comet small truck that had been imported from India and made a deal. My dad saw the opportunity immediately. Instead of having to make two or three trips the truck could hold almost an entire production from the farm and then Dad began to negotiate moving other farmer’s crops to Kumasi about 3 hours away at the time. Within a couple of years, the truck had given the family a more comfortable living standard and the production of Cocoa in the region had increased. Soon enough Dad was doing runs into Accra about 7 hours away and on his return He would transport gasoline for the truck and for reselling. I was lucky to go with him on several of those trips.
One of the government officials in Accra took a liking to Dad and his entrepreneurial ways and on a trip he made to Cape Town, South Africa, found a replica toy of Dad’s Leyland Comet and brought it to him. I played with that truck pretending to be Dad all the time.
In the 80’s with the decline of the cocoa markets and the drought’s and political instability that plagued the region the farm’s economic appeal decreased. Grandfather had passed away and Dad had no inclination to continue farming so He sold the land and we emigrated to France. My father’s toy truck was always my constant companion.
We had a hard time adapting in France so Dad decided to try his luck in Canada and emigrated to Montreal where we lived for a couple years eventually moving to Southwestern Ontario.
The toy truck, battered and scar by the years, stays in our home’s mantel as a precious chain-link to a land and a life we lived intensely and the new land we now call home and are privileged to enjoy and be members of.